How do I give XP to the NPCs who adventure with the PCs? Basically, Raggi and Gort?
To date, I've been using a very ad hoc system. It basically works like this:
- no XP for NPCs.
- periodically, give them 5-10 points worth of upgrades when they seem to be lagging behind the PCs in their specific niche.
- if the players give an NPC the MVP award (despite it being the Most Valuable PC award), spend it on something cool ASAP.
Otherwise, that's that. No real system.
But I could probably do with one, and here is what I'm thinking.
- NPCs get 1 point per trip no matter what, 2 points if it's a profitable trip.
- NPCs gain any special points that the PCs do. Awesome Bonus, extra points for special discoveries, etc. all are given at full value to the NPCs.
This is for NPCs who voluntarily come with the PCs for a share or partial share of the loot. To date this would be "Red" Raggi Ragnarsson, Gort of the Shining Force, Orcish Bob, and Melchior the Malevolent. This would not apply to hirelings (bargain, or full-cost 125 point ones) or Allies (who promote normally, and 1/2 the speed of their boss PC) or volunteers who aren't special in some way (like Gort).
I think that puts the promotion and importance squarely on the PCs, but means the NPCs do actually get better. Only ones who are acting like PCs get improvement, and it's slow and steady. The for-hire dudes get nothing. The allies advance lockstep at their paid-for levels.
So this way, Raggi would earn 1-2 points a trip. Usually 2, lately (1 last time). I'd just mark them down and he'd get to spend them periodically. He'll keep falling behind but he's lower points than everyone except the two new guys out of the current regulars already. He's just so one-dimensional (berserk warrior!) that he does that well and usefully. So it's not a concern he'll fall behind. However it would mean I'd have a system for improvements instead of just periodically giving what seems like a reasonable amount. It also means that taking on a hire as a paid-for-with-points ally means they go from "locked at 125 points" to "advance in ability."
Any suggestions or comments on this? I haven't tried it - I'm just thinking about how it should go.